Writing Prompts for Personal Narrative


Reviewed by Vivian Cisneros

The "Personal Narrative Collection" (story prompts) web page contains 18 story ideas to give students a starting point for writing a personal narrative. These could, of course, just as easily be used to jump start an oral personal story. Topics covered include childhood, school, emotions, character traits, and travel, to mention just a few. Although most of the prompts are timeless, this page was obviously written just before the turn of the century, as one prompt asks students to imagine life in the year 2000 when all technology fails.

These writing prompts are aimed at middle school children, although the subjects covered could be used in a variety of grade levels, both younger and older. Each prompt is a short one paragraph description of a situation or idea that the student is then asked to come up with specifics for, or to elaborate on. The students are encouraged to think back in their lives to come up with a situation that might fit the scenario, which are all general enough so that everyone should be able to come up with a situation they have lived through that would fit the prompt.

This webpage was put up by Schoolchildren.com. This appears to be the website for Wilson Middle School, in the Boston Public School System. Although the "Personal Narratives Collection" page has not been recently updated, Schoolchildren.com is current, with a 2003 copyright date.

The page has a simple design with no graphics, so it will load up quickly. The page is set up to fit the size of your window, so that it is not ever necessary to scroll right and left in order to read the whole paragraph. Although there are no links to the top between prompts, there is one at the end of the list that will jump you back up to the top.

Overall this webpage is a good resource for teachers to give classes a starting point in telling a personal story, whether written down or oral. The variety of ideas offered makes it adaptable to many different kinds of situations.